(NewsNation) — The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday outlined plans to reorganize the agency following a review of its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The memo, titled “CDC Review & Next Steps,” revealed a series of changes for the agency to be of better support to the future of public health.
Texas Rep. Brian Harrison, who served as the chief of staff for the Department of Health and Human Services under the Trump administration during the first year of the pandemic, discussed ways the CDC can rebuild the public’s trust, as well as solutions the agency can use to better prepare for future health catastrophes.
Harrison explained it’s important not to point fingers when it comes to how the CDC and officials handled the response to COVID-19, especially since he said that happened a lot during the first year of the pandemic. What is important is that the CDC learns from what was broken.
“The Biden administration, after dealing with COVID for about a year and a half, is finally admitting the organization is in fact broken,” Harrison said.
While the U.S. had over 75 years to prepare for a pandemic as catastrophic, Harrison said there were institutional and systemic problems that the CDC has to deal with and overcome. But with admitting there is a problem, Harrison said the CDC needs to reassess criticisms and that it “needs a cultural transformation from one that’s erudite, academic and focused way too much on white papers and PHDs talking to other PhDs.”
“On the communication front, one thing that can’t be stressed enough, I think, is the need for humility here,” Harrison said. “And the need to understand that the CDC understands certain things that are hard science, but that there’s a lot they don’t understand.”
Harrison said that transparency with the American people could influence the public to be more willing to cooperate and coordinate with the CDC’s expertise.
“Tell the American people what you know, but be equally honest with them about what you don’t know,” Harrison said. “Now that the CDC’s own guidance recommends treating vaccinated and unvaccinated people the exact same, come out and oppose vaccine mandates all across the country. That would show the American people, it would show policymakers, it would show those in and outside of the scientific community, ‘It’s a new day, they’re turning over a new page. Recognize natural immunity, oppose vaccine mandates; that would go a long way to showing they’re very serious here.'”
Harrison said the best thing for the CDC to do going forward is trust science, listen to criticism and be transparent about the moves it is making. These steps will help the American people regain trust with the CDC, and for the CDC to grow in the right direction to being prepared for future health emergencies.